The Foundation has now closed. This site is no longer maintained, and is for reference only. Be sure to explore the insights from our four year journey.

The Foundation


Insights from our journey

We’ve learnt an extraordinary amount of useful stuff during our adventure. We’ve put it down on paper to share with you. We hope to inspire and to give ideas for how you might or might not approach things. So that it’s useful, we’ve been brutally honest, sharing our successes and spectacular failures.

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01. Building a venture

It’s tough starting out. So many things need to be done with so little money. It can be tempting to rush around doing things that appear urgent at the time rather than taking time out to get the...

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02. Leadership

It goes without saying that leaders are important for an organisation. For the organisations we support – social start-ups – their role takes on even greater significance. Success or failure is...

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03. Programmes for young people

Young people were the reason we existed. We were passionate about the impact our partners’ work could have on their lives. So over the four years we observed with interest their different approaches...

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04. Supporting non-profits

We were driven by a desire to become an outstanding funder. We wanted to take the partnership between a funder and non-profit up a notch. It took us two years to get our model right. We tested...

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05. The world of funders

None of us at The Foundation had ever worked for a funder. We’d all worked for non-profits and had limited experience of interacting with foundations. Our lack of exposure meant we made mistakes...

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06. Fundraising

We were fortunate to sit in a very special place. As a funder we were able to observe multiple fundraising approaches. And, in the past year, we fundraised ourselves, approaching tech companies...

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07. Communications

We needed to be heard. We wanted to reach out to social start-ups who might be interested in our support. We wanted to build a reputation among funders, so that they might support our partners...

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08. Working with companies

A tech company, The Forward Internet Group, set us up. When Forward split out to become multiple independent companies we became the foundation of those different companies. We were...

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Final thoughts

Our short-lived experience made us reflect on the lifecycle of a non-profit. Is it better to have a short, exhilarating life and make a big bang? Or continue forever, but make less of an impression?

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2012 to 2015
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